Swann Calls for Minister to Widen Review of Dental Care

CALGARY, AB (July 10, 2015):  Dr. David Swann is calling on the government to create a new independent College of Dentistry with a mandate to protect the public interest as part of its review of skyrocketing dental costs in Alberta.

“Dental care is an important contributor to health and patients need information surrounding costs before they are surprised by a massive bill,” says Swann. “Ironically, the Alberta Dental Association and College, as currently constituted, is actually standing in the way of more competition among dentists by putting extreme limitations on advertising.

“This has the predictable result of disallowing dentists from offering special rates for low income Albertans, special days for seniors and ban on informing the public of a dentist’s extra training in various specialties.”

Swann’s comments come as Health Minister Sara Hoffman’s announced that she would initiate a review of Alberta dental costs, which are the highest in Canada. Since 1997, when Alberta stopped publishing a fee guide, dental costs in Alberta have skyrocketed faster than other provinces at double the rate of inflation.

Swann notes that, unlike other provinces, Alberta has no independent dental College whose role is to oversee ethical practice, investigate complaints about dentists and fine or remove a dentist’s license if needed. The Association is inherently conflicted as it tries to promote and police the profession by the same officials.

“This is a basic question of separating the roles of the Association and College to achieve fairness not only for patients but also for the dentists themselves.”